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Divorce Rates in Poland and other European Countries - EU Report

Divorce rate in Poland is low compared to other European countries

According to Statistical Office of European Union (EU) Eurostat - divorce rate in Poland is low compared to other countries of EU and it is equal 1.2 divorces per 1000 residents. Only Slovenia had a lower rate of divorces (1.1) but Slovenians do not get marry that often as Poles - there are only 3.5 marriages per 1000 residents as compared to 5.1 in Poland. In present EU countries the average divorce rate is 1.9 per 1000 residents. The only country in Europe where divorce rate is zero is Malta - but divorce is illegal in this country. From all countries of Eastern Europe - the highest divorce rate is in Estonia and Lithuania - 3.2 per 1000 residents. Also Hungary had traditionally high divorce rate for a long time.

From the present members of EU the highest divorce rate is in Great Britain. The report said that on average 2.7 Britons in every thousand get divorced annually, while the comparable figure for Italy is just 0.6 per thousand and for Greece and Spain a mere 0.9. The EU average is 1.8 per thousand.

In Europe, especially in Western Europe people tend more and more often not to marry at all.The average marriage rate in EU present members is 5.1 marriages per thousand.

In 2002 year, 41,000 couples divorced in Poland. (...) To obtain a divorce, one has to prove that "an irreversible and a complete breakdown of the marriage" has taken place. For 70 percent of the divorce cases in Poland, guilt is not decided upon. (...)In over two-thirds of the divorce cases in Poland, women file the suit. The court finds the woman at fault only 3 percent of the time. The most common divorce causes are alcoholism, extramarital relationships, a spouse showing no interest in the family, physical cruelty, and new situations that emerged in recent years, such as drug addiction and confession of homosexuality. (...) The Catholic Church does not consent to divorce, but it does occasionally consider the validity of a sacramental marriage. (excerpts from Warsaw Voice)

Why Poles do not divorce that frequently as other Europeans? Are marriages in Poland usually better?

First of all a divorce procedure in Poland is quite complex - the court often decide that for the sake of the children a couple should seek the marriage counseling first - it is almost always a case during a first hearing. Only when court decide (after several hearings, in many cases witnesses need to be presented) that nothing can save marriage anymore - the divorce is finalized. It usually lasts couple of months or years after filing for a divorce. The longest and the most bitter are divorce procedures when both sides cannot agree who should be blamed for a divorce and who should keep the children. It is a bit easier to go through separation process than a divorce. Separation is also tolerated by a Catholic Church.

Poland is a very catholic country, more than 90% of people declare that they are religious. Majority of Poles are Roman Catholics. In Roman Catholic Church divorce is almost impossible, but separation is tolerated. People who live only in a civil union (after a divorce) are unable to participate in any sacrament. This is also a reason that divorce in Poland, although accepted, is not approved by a society.

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